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How to Handle Important Anniversaries After Death|Ridley Funeral Home

Posted On 5/23/2018 By

How to Handle Important Anniversaries After Death

Death is a part of life that means many different things to different people and a part of that meaning is grief. Grief, or the emotional response to a loss, affects everyone different and everyone needs to grieve in their own way to achieve closure, and getting back to living while still honoring and remembering their loss.

For some of use however, closure is not easy and the anniversary date of that loss can bring back those feelings of grief as though it occurred just yesterday. These reactions can occur at any time following a significant loss – even years after the death. This latent or delayed response is known as delayed grief – it is very real and once recognized, with support it can be understood, worked through, and managed. These reactions are defined as setbacks, aftershocks, and the recurrence of grief:

  • Setbacks are the unexpected but inevitable frustrations and disappointments you’ll encounter in your efforts to rebuild following your loss.


  • Aftershocks or ‘grief bursts’ happen when some of the ‘down’ feelings you’ve already experienced in grief come at you again several months after the death, or even after a year or more.


  • Recurrence of grief is common and normal, but disturbing nonetheless. Although the strong feelings of grief are not continuous, they can return at any time, whenever you are reminded of your loss.

These feelings may be especially apparent toward the end of your first year, as you approach the anniversary date of your loved one’s death. Rest assured that what you’re feeling is normal and to be expected. Getting past this anniversary is but another significant step in finding your way through grief. Letting go means leaving behind the sorrow and pain of grief and choosing to go on, and to give testimony to your continuing relationship with that person, taking with you only those memories and experiences that enhance your ability to grow and expand your capacity for happiness.

Here are a few suggestions for coping with setbacks, aftershocks, and the recurrence of grief:

  • Accept that setbacks are a reality of life over which you have no control - although you cannot choose what life has to offer, you can always choose how to respond.


  • Know that aftershocks of grief are normal, and they will pass more quickly each time you experience them.


  • Handle your memories with care. If they are painful and unpleasant, they can be hurtful and destructive. If they create longing and hold you to the past, they can interfere with your willingness to move on. You can choose which parts of life you shared that you wish to keep and which parts you want to leave behind.


  • Soothe your pain by thinking of happy as well as sad memories. The happiness you experienced with your loved one belongs to you forever. Hold onto those rich memories, and give thanks for the life of the person you’ve lost instead of brooding over the last days.


  • Build a memory time into the day, or pack an entire day with meaning. Immerse yourself in the healing power of remembrance. Go to a special place, read aloud, or listen to a favorite song. Celebrate what once was and is no more.

Ridley Funeral Home specializes in helping families who want to create special gatherings for special people. If you have questions about your own grief, to attend a grief sharing session, or even to make funeral arrangements in Etobicoke contact Ridley Funeral Home at 416-259-3705 today. We can accommodate services as intimate as five people to gatherings up to 300 guests with spacious community rooms, a sun-filled chapel, and warm farmhouse design.